What does this mean for researchers?

What does this Delivery Plan mean for researchers?

The essentials of how we have always operated will remain in place. We will retain a thematic structure with familiar entry points for making research applications and for discussing programmes of work with us. Researchers remain free to submit any ideas, at any time, for projects that will further knowledge and enhance the UK's capability – our commitment to the ideas of researchers is paramount. We do, though, want the Prosperity Outcomes to prompt researchers to think widely and creatively about how their curiosity, their knowledge and skills can be deployed, either singly or alongside others, to directly address the challenges we all face.

The importance of peer review is axiomatic, with excellence continuing to be the primary criterion for assessing proposals. We will also continue factoring in national importance, providing the broader, strategic context in which research proposals can be considered; the national outcomes leading to prosperity, shown above, will help to inform this. The requirement to identify appropriate pathways to impact will remain. Other factors that will remain crucial to our prioritisation and investment choices are:

  • Ensuring a forward-looking, ambitious portfolio of research and training which makes a positive difference for the UK
  • The protection of the UK's long-term capability, and the expansion of multidisciplinary research
  • The securing of leverage in order to get the most from public funds

Across the whole of our operation, we will, as ever, adhere to the values of openness, transparency, consistency, and a commitment to what is best for the UK, and for global development.

Our Partnership with Universities

Active partnership with universities is a major element of what we do. We have maintained a strategic relationship with our Framework and Strategic Partner Universities since 2008. We will seek even more coherence and efficiency across the UK academic research system so that public investment is used wisely and for the larger benefit of the UK. The benefits of a sustained relationship and dialogue at a senior level are:

  • mutual contribution to, and understanding of one another's strategies and plans, based on a strong culture of information-sharing
  • faster implementation of activities which address our strategic plan goals
  • strengthening of our capability in the knowledge management of the broader EPS landscape.

In this Delivery Plan, we will

  • Continue our strategic level engagement with key partner universities
  • Enhance the efficiency of our internal relationship management processes
  • Build on our existing capability in management information and knowledge mapping to enable a more reflective relationship with our key universities
  • Develop a closer portfolio management relationship with key universities and/or regional groupings of universities

Expected outcomes – by the end of the Delivery Plan we will have

  • Consolidation of the benefits highlighted above, with a particular focus around the Prosperity Outcomes framework
  • More efficient use of resources, and EPSRC interactions with partner universities are more coherently structured
  • Universities are better able to understand and address performance with respect to both their institutional strategies and EPSRC strategies, particularly equality and diversity
  • EPSRC and universities have honest and open discussions about areas of comparative strength, influencing future decision making
  • A clear understanding of, and buy-in to, EPSRC strategies at the Faculty/School level within universities will become standard across partner institutions
  • Better understanding of university policy and culture and enhanced knowledge of progress and issues with specific investments and investment classes